Australia narrowly edge out Scotland in pulsating encounter
The high tempo nature of the warm-up drills hinted at the spectacle that was to come between Scotland and Australia. There was plenty at stake, as the winner would secure pole position in the group and, in the end, it was to be Australia who edged it 2-1 in an end-to-end encounter.
The first clear-cut opportunity of the match fell to Australia in the second minute. Liam Dawson controlled a lofted ball, with the deftest of touches, before beating his man but Scotland’s goalkeeper, Lewis Forbes, was equal to the effort.
A tense affair in the early stages, both teams probed but found that they were cancelling one another out.
The next clear attempt at goal didn’t arrive until the sixth minute of the match. This time it was created by Jared Linger, who flicked the ball over his head and volleyed into the side netting.
The deadlock was broken a minute later when Australia’s Kevin Robertson found space off the ball in the middle of the court. Mitch Dobson spotted him excellently and angled a pass in his direction. Robertson showed excellent composure to poke the ball home and put his side into the lead.
Australia began to dominate proceedings but it was Scotland who almost leveled in the 11th minute. Seb Stankovic left his area to mop up a Scotland attack but his clearance ricocheted off Sam Pirrie and bounced just past the post.
Scotland took heart and began to create more towards the conclusion of the half. In the 17th minute Cammy Robertson broke clear, before squaring the ball to Alex Chingwalu, but Australia hurried back to defend well.
Dell Newlands then raced clear for Scotland, in the 18th minute, but was denied by Stankovic’s excellent sliding challenge. Chingwalu drove towards goal, upon Scotland regaining possession, but his toe poke took a deflection before going just wide.
The final minute of the half saw chances for both teams. The impressive Dawson cracked an effort off the post before his teammate Kane Pollard made it to the byline and cut the ball back in the direction of Musa Kamara. The forward produced a clever back heel but Forbes was equal to the effort in the sticks. Scotland responded as Robertson thread a ball through for Chingwalu but Stankovic stood tall before recovering the second ball.
Half-Time: Scotland 0-1 Australia
Australia wasted no time in extending their lead in the second half. Patrick Langlois played the ball wide to Robertson who delivered a teasing ball into the middle for Langlois to finish.
Scotland pulled themselves back into the tie, in the 28th minute, when Andrew Santos latched onto a ball at the back post to lift it over the goalkeeper and into the net via the inside of the post.
Scotland gained momentum from the goal and pushed forward, allowing gaps to open up at both ends of the court. Liam Kelly was a driving force for the Scots and in the 30th minute the attacker beat two players before slicing an effort wide of the left hand post.
Strong play by the impressive Callum Downie, in the 34th minute, almost saw an equaliser. Downie muscled past his marker to square for Newlands but his effort was cleared off the line to the agony of the Scottish supporters.
Scotland’s work rate was superb in the second half and they were almost rewarded for their efforts towards the end of the match. Santos had an effort blocked in the 37th minute after racing forward.
The Scottish coaching staff then went for the jugular in the last few minutes, opting to continually rotate their goalkeeper with their designated outfield player. It so nearly paid off as Sam Pirrie, acting as the designated player, hit the side netting for Scotland following a goalmouth stramash.
Townie then had an effort from the right of the court blocked by Stankovic. The final chance of the game would fall to Australia. Dobson found Jose Atayde in the penalty area in a frantic finish but Forbes blocked well with his legs.
The buzzer sounded much to Australia’s delight as Scotland left the court unrewarded for their fine efforts. The host nation can take confidence in their performance going into the semi final with the USA.
Full Time: Scotland 1-2 Australia
Scotland: Lewis Forbes, Daniel Gilbride, Callum Downie, Cammy Robertson, Sam Pirrie, Sam Noble, Liam Kelly, Alex Chingwalu, Ross McLaren, Dell Newlands, Cameron Robertson, Blair McCord, Andrew Santos, Ciaran Pugh
Star Player: Pirrie
Australia: Harley Brown, Jared Linger, Jose Atayde, Mitch Dobson, Kevin Robertson, Matt Schmidt, Lachlan Buxton, Patrick Langlois, Manoli Papaspiropolos, Kane Pollard, Musa Kamara, Liam Dawson, Seth Telfer, Seb Stankovic
Star Player: Dobson